Gary had to first lease land in Provence, France; but in 2002 he bought 80 acres for the cultivation of lavender.
This photo was taken in Simiane, Provence, France, 1992. That’s when I took a group of members to France to celebrate our first farm there. I didn’t have the money to buy it then, so I leased it. We had a great time. We were so big in 1999 that I was able to take 90 percent of our members with me, all 12 of them.
In 2002 I bought an 80-acre farm in Provence for the cultivation of lavender.
Young Living has leased this 1,000-year-old castle for a Visitor Center and training facility in Provence.
This picture was taken from the castle, which Young Living has now leased from the community and turned into a visitor center and training place. So all of you who went to France in August with the Diamonds got to go to the castle. It’s over a thousand years old.
There’s the sign and a few of our members, and some of them are here at convention today. It’s beautiful to have these people with us and sharing the beginning. It was a great time.
Members also learned how to harvest wild lavender on the mountain.
Here is the distillery today: going from one cooker to 103,000 liters of distillation capacity!
Not just one cooker now! The Mona distillery is busy all summer distilling essential oils from the crops grown on our farm.
You have to dream big!
Isn’t the lavender field beautiful!
In 1999 we hit our maximum capacity of lavender starts in our greenhouses at 1.5 million.
This year we did another 1.5 million lavender starts.
In Mona we now grow over 700 acres of lavender, clary sage, peppermint, hyssop,
Such a beautiful sight to see! Hundreds of acres of beautiful lavender plants. Be sure to come to our Run Through the Lavender races and Lavender Day celebration held each summer.
chamomile, and goldenrod.
We got the first cooker at the farm in Mona, Utah, but then had to build the structure to house it!
Mona, Utah—how many of you were at the convention in 1996 and were at the farm in Mona and saw the first cooker ready to be installed, but there was no place to put it? Yes, so many of you were there. It was a wonderful time.
The distillery wasn’t finished; but with one cooker operational, we had our first peppermint distillation at Mona.
But you look at this and say, wow, how could it be what it is today?
This was the first distillation of peppermint at the Mona farm in 1996. Does it look a little different now?
I needed a harvester for harvesting peppermint, so I built one out of a hay baler. Then we needed a wheel line, a mini pivot, which we built on the farm.
Then I created the first three-row lavender planting machine that I designed and built in my shop. Now it’s in St. Maries as a reminder of the early days; however, they still use it.
We needed a second lavender harvester, so I imported one from France. I imported four harvesters all together.
Then I designed and built the next one, and those are the harvesters we use today.
Young Living members come to St. Maries to help with both summer and winter harvests.
This is 2011. Does anyone in this picture recognize themselves? Members distilling! Yes indeed, there’s Judy, Kathy, Jill, and husbands. Kristen was there with her mom and dad. Thank you so much. These beautiful people came to St. Maries over and over and over, summer after summer, winter after winter, helping with the lavender harvest and the winter harvest. Thank you so much.
This is loading the cooker. Members are unloading chips from the truck into the cooker and tamping them down prior to distillation. The St. Maries distillery has 42,000 liters of distillation capacity.
This is blue spruce from last year’s distillation. Isn’t that beautiful? Chérie Ross was at the farm the day I distilled the first batch of blue spruce. I was downstairs when the blue spruce oil was coming out. If we call it blue wouldn’t you think the oil’s going to be blue? It came out champagne pink.
I went running up the stairs and said, “Chérie, you’ve got to come down here; you’re not going to believe this—it’s amazing!” She came down the stairs, and it was one of the very few times Chérie was silent. Her eyes were that big around, her mouth was down to her chest, and she was just standing there in awe. Since then she has never stopped talking about blue spruce.
Who would have thought Idaho Blue Spruce essential oil would be such a lovely pink color?
Gary said he would build an irrigation system to water his fields of clary sage powered by a 5-horsepower motor. Sprinkler experts scoffed saying it couldn’t be done. Don’t ever say that to Gary! Here is the finished system!
I built my first sprinkler system out of PVC pipe and powered it with a 5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton fire pump. Chuck at Dickerson Irrigation, who is a very good friend of mine now, said, “Gary, it won’t work; there’s just no way you can power a sprinkler system with just a 5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton fire pump.”
Well, when it was running, like this picture shows, I called him on the phone and said, “Chuck, would you like to come out and see what doesn’t work?” The picture shows the clary sage fields being watered.
Then I started building the framework for my third distillery. I didn’t have money for it, so I cut the logs from trees at the farm in St. Maries to use for the distillery walls.
In 2002 I bought another 40 acres, making the farm a total of 200 acres.
Standing to the right of Gary in this photo are Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Pénoël. On Gary’s left are Pat and Monte Holmes, the farm managers at that time.
Shown in the other picture is Dr. Daniel Pénoël, a medical doctor who has authored several books on aromatherapy, and his wife, Rose-Marie. They came to visit the farm in 1998. We’re standing in a melissa field with our farm managers at that time, Pat and Monte Holmes. Isn’t the melissa beautiful!
We also had beautiful lavender fields in St. Maries, but I can only show you so many photos.